Running Boston Marathon 27 Weeks Pregnant

Guest Blog, Mary Kitchen | Gazelle Sports Ambassador

As I signed up for my 5th consecutive Boston marathon in September 2018, I knew training was going to look different than the intense marathon training cycle I was completing for the Chicago Marathon.

My goal was to set a PR at Chicago and then try for a baby. I was hoping to be pregnant in Boston. I just did not know how pregnant I would be. I had run Boston in 2016 34 weeks pregnant, so I was worried. I found out early November that I was pregnant and quickly counted the weeks. I would be 27 weeks on Marathon Monday. Training would need to start in the middle/end of December. I had 6 weeks to figure out a training plan. Spoiler alert: I never had a training plan for Boston. I had a rough idea in my head about what mileage I wanted to peak at, how long my longest run would be, and how many “speed” sessions I would do.

I just never wrote out a complete schedule. I would write my mileage day by day. That is how I took this training cycle. One day at a time. I tossed away a time goal and never thought about one until I ran a half marathon 3 weeks before Boston.

I also knew that with pregnancy how you feel could change in a heartbeat.

With my first pregnancy, I dropped my pace and intensity in my runs right away. I went from running 7:50’s to running 9:00 min/miles. This time around - I wanted to keep up the pace for as long as my body could handle knowing that I would need more recovery between “harder” runs. I would do speed work on Wednesday’s that I would make up the day of and my long run days would be a progression run since almost ALL of my runs were on the treadmill due to Michigan winter and my safety and I would get
bored.

During peak week, I ran a half marathon in the middle of my 22 miler. I ran 6 before the race and 3 miles after. My goal for the half was a sub-2. By my surprise, I came in at 1:44:XX and was very pleased and shocked. I felt amazing for 24 weeks pregnant and could only hope that I would feel the say in 3 weeks for the marathon. I also knew that with pregnancy how you feel could change in a heartbeat. I made my silent goal of sub-4 at Boston. When I would get discouraged about my paces and training,
there was always someone on the little square world that would pick me back up. I was also able to connect with others that were also running Boston with a little buddy.

Seeing my little family at mile 16 was the boost I needed to make it the rest of the way.

Arriving at Boston pregnant is a little overwhelming. People have their own opinions like “should you really be running a marathon pregnant?” My answer always is my doctor has been cheering me on since day one. On the other hand, people are very supportive and encouraging. The atmosphere at Boston is what draws me back every year and this year was no exception. Most of the time I forgot I was running this race pregnant because of the hype of the weekend- the expo, meet ups, pop up shops, BAA 5k, spectators, and the city all make it worth coming back.

I have never cried at the finish line but I did that day. I was amazed and shocked at what I just completed.

— Mary K.

On race day - I started in the back of my corral knowing that I would be running at a pace slower than the others in my corral, but also did not want to be running at 3:30 in the afternoon. I ran to the side of the road so it was easy for others to pass me. I heard a TON of encouragement on my journey from Hopkinton to Boston. Seeing my little family at mile 16 was the boost I needed to make it the rest of the way.

I ran the entire time to mile 16 without stopping except to use the bathroom at mile 11. When I
reached the hills, I would run up half the hill- walk to the top- run to the next hill for 3 miles. At mile, it was the spectators that pushed me to the end and reaching the next water station (it was getting toasty out there).

When I turned right on Hereford and left on Boylston, all the emotions came. I knew I
was coming in well under sub-4 and was able to safely finish the Boston Marathon at 27 weeks pregnant. I have never cried at the finish line but I did that day. I was amazed and shocked at what I just completed.

Crossing the finish line in 3:44:22 and a 5th consecutive Boston Marathon Finisher. I have not found a race that compares to the Boston Marathon. It is a privilege to run this race and to be able to cherish the moment with my little passenger made the experience that much more fun.